Can Dogs Eat Watermelons?

can dogs eat watermelon

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Can Dogs eat watermelons? Watermelon is a fruit known for its high water content and nutritious composition. You can choose to eat it just the way it is or whip up some special recipe if you are feeling adventurous. But is watermelon good for dogs?

Most of the time, pet owners are likely to share meals with their canine friends and that’s only a natural thing to do as it encourages bonding. This good gesture towards pets have sometimes ended up in the emergency section of a Vet hospital.

This is why it’s important to know what to give dogs and what to be cautious and extra careful about. This article will give particular information on all we need to know about Dogs and Watermelons.

Are Watermelons Good For Dogs?

Yes. Watermelon is good for dogs but we need to take some extra steps to make it perfectly safe for their consumption. It’s a perfect fruit to help hydrate your furry friend and provide them with extra vitamins and minerals. It can be sliced up and fed to them or made into some special recipe, just for fun.

The watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a large, sweet fruit originally from southern Africa. It’s related to cantaloupe, zucchini, pumpkin, and cucumber.

Watermelon is packed with water and nutrients, contains very few calories, and is exceptionally refreshing. What’s more, it’s a good dietary source of both citrulline and lycopene, two powerful plant compounds.

While watermelons are predominantly eaten fresh, they can also be frozen, made into juice, or added to smoothies.

dog and watermelon
Can Dogs Eat Watermelons?

When is Watermelon Unsafe For Dogs?

Watermelon is a great, juicy fruit and your dog should get to enjoy it from time to time. However, you need to take some extra care when feeding watermelon to your dog.

Watermelon Seeds

Watermelon seeds (the mature ones) aren’t very safe for your dog. A couple of seeds accidentally swallowed will probably not cause harm, but if you let your dog eat away on a watermelon, they can ingest too many seeds. Too many seeds in the intestine of a dog may increase the risk of intestinal obstruction. The hard seeds may not slide through the dog’s digestive system causing an intestinal blockage.

This is mostly true for small dogs who have much smaller intestines than larger dogs. So removing the seeds and offering small chunks is the best way for your dog to enjoy this juicy fruit.

Watermelon Rind

The rind is another part of the watermelon that isn’t safe for your dog. While they can nibble on the light green part of the rind, the rind itself is too tough for your dog.

Their digestive system can’t break it down effectively and it can cause an intestinal blockage just like the seeds can. It’s best to remove the rind and the seeds before you offer the fruit to your dog.

Excess Watermelon

Too much of anything can cause problems, and watermelon is the same. Treats and watermelon should be an occasional treat and only 10% of your dog’s diet to avoid obesity or diabetes.

Too much watermelon can cause a tummy upset, constipation, or diarrhea for your dog. And smaller dogs should have much less as a snack than a larger dog.

Watermelon Nutritional Composition

Watermelon consists mostly of water (91%) and carbs (7.5%). It provides almost no protein or fat and is very low in calories.

The nutrients in 2/3 cup (100 grams) of raw watermelon are:

  • Calories: 30
  • Water: 91%
  • Protein: 0.6 grams
  • Carbs: 7.6 grams
  • Sugar: 6.2 grams
  • Fiber: 0.4 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
sliced chunks of watermelon
Sliced Watermelon

Carbs

Watermelon contains 12 grams of carbs per cup (152 grams). The carbs are mostly simple sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Watermelon also provides a small amount of fiber.

Vitamins and Minerals

Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C and a decent source of several other vitamins and minerals.

Citrulline

Watermelon is the richest known dietary source of the amino acid citrulline. The highest amount is found in the white rind that surrounds the flesh.

Lycopene

Watermelon is the best known fresh source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant responsible for its red color.

Benefits of Watermelon For Your Dog

Even though it’s 92% water, besides being a superb choice for hydration on a scorching day, the high nutritional value of watermelon makes it one of the best choices as a healthy snack for both you and your dog.

Here are some health benefits of watermelon:

  • Moisture: A high moisture percentage (94%) helps with hydration, an important consideration in hot weather.
  • Antioxidants: Repairs cells damaged from environmental stresses put on our bodies and that of our dogs. Think of them as the oxidation soldiers seeking damaged cells and saving them from decay that breaks down our dogs’ bodies as they age.
  • Lycopene: It’s what contributes to the beautiful red in watermelon and tomatoes. It’s also beneficial for cancer prevention and supporting vision in dogs. Research has also suggested it slows the rate of cancer growth.
  • Potassium: Supports healthy kidney and heart function, promotes healthy bone density, regulates the fluid levels, and helps muscle development.
  • Vitamin C: Another powerful antioxidant, boosts the immune system, and reduces inflammation.
  • Fiber: Keeps food moving through the intestinal tract to avoid constipation, help resolve diarrhea, and avoid blockages.
  • Vitamin A: Supports proper function and quality of skin, coat, muscles, and nerves.
  • Vitamin B6: A critical coenzyme for brain and body functions regulating fluid balance, building proteins, regulating hormones, and supporting neurotransmitters in your dog’s body.
girl with watermelon and dog
Photo credit: Pixabay

Some Creative Watermelon Treats

As with any new food added to your pet’s diet, start out serving watermelon very slowly to see how well the fruits are being digested. Soft stool or diarrhea can be indications that watermelon does not agree with your dog, or they have consumed too much.

So, here are some ways to serve watermelon to your dogs:

In chunks: Slice up watermelon and remove the rinds and seeds

Frozen chunks: After removing the rinds and seeds, freeze the fruit in the freezer and take out on a hot summer day. The treat will help cool down your dog!

Puree: Puree the fresh fruit after seeds and rinds are removed, then freeze in an ice cube tray.

Strawberry Chia Watermelon Smoothie: Chia seeds can be mixed into bowls of fruit, smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt parfaits, and plenty more.

Summer Melon Fruit Salad: Sometimes, you just want a classic side dish, and that’s where this fruit salad comes in. Made with watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries, blueberries, and more.

Watermelon and Kiwi Pops: Cool off with a homemade popsicle you can feel good about. Its short ingredient list and low sugar count knock the majority of packaged pops out of the water. The best part: These treats are extremely easy to make; all you need is a watermelon and a few kiwis.

That’s right two ingredients are all you need for these easy, delicious treats. Yep, the only ingredients in here are puréed watermelon and puréed kiwi. Just blend them together and freeze them for the perfect watermelon snack!

Doggie Ice Cream: Puree watermelon and some other dog-safe fruits like blueberries, bananas, or pineapple along with yogurt or peanut butter and freeze in ice cube trays for a novel treat. Or try serving them as a smoothie!

Dehydrated: Dehydrate the fruit (minus seeds and rind) for a chewy treat. This will eliminate the hydrating properties of the fruit, but your dog will still enjoy it.

Watermelon ice cream: Blend frozen watermelon chunks with plain, unsweetened yogurt. Add on top of your dog’s food bowl or stuff into a rubber toy such as a Kong. Unless they suffer from lactose intolerance, plain yogurt is safe to eat for most dogs. It’s usually better tolerated than ice cream, plus the bacterial cultures in yogurt are great for intestinal health. Just be sure to choose plain yogurt without any added flavors, fruit, sugars, natural sweeteners, or artificial sweeteners.

watermelon smoothie
Watermelon smoothie

Is Seedless Watermelon a Good Option?

Seedless watermelon is the best choice for your dog. The seeds are not mature enough or in high volume to bind up in the digestive tract. You’ll still want to be mindful of the seed content in the fruit, but it’s a far better option if your dog loves watermelon.

How to Feed Watermelon To Dogs

Only feed fresh or unsweetened frozen watermelon to your dog. Do not feed them watermelon that is canned, sugared or packed in syrup. The sugar content is too high, and these foods might have added preservatives and sweeteners like xylitol which can be deadly to dogs.

Remove the fruit from the rind as the green and white section of the rind can be rough on a pup’s tummy. Remove any seeds from the melon as these can cause intestinal blockage and also might present a choking hazard.

Allow you dog to nibble away at a slice of watermelon with your supervision or simply cut the pink sections of the fruit into bite-sized chunks. Freeze bite-sized pieces of watermelon to make a fresh, fruity popsicle for your pup.

Add a few small pieces to your dog’s prepared food as a vitamin-booster.

How Much Watermelon Can Dogs Eat?

Like many other fruits, too much watermelon can cause loose stool, so it’s best to offer your pup a few small pieces of watermelon with the rind and seeds removed, and then keep an eye on them to ensure it agrees with their stomach.

Feed watermelon to your dog in small chunks to avoid choking hazards, and keep those rinds and seeds out of reach.

Watermelon Side Effects

Watermelon is well tolerated by most dogs. However, it may cause allergic reactions or digestive problems in some.

Allergy

Allergy to watermelon is rare and usually associated with oral-allergy syndrome in dogs that are sensitive to pollen.

Symptoms include itchy mouth and throat, as well as swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, throat, and/or ears.

FODMAPs

Watermelon contains relatively high amounts of fructose, a type of FODMAP that some dogs may not fully digest.

FODMAPs like fructose may cause unpleasant digestive symptoms, such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and constipation.

Allergy to watermelons is rare but does exist. This fruit also contains FODMAPs, which may cause unpleasant digestive symptoms.

Conclusion – Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?

Yes, it’s perfectly okay for dogs to snack on watermelons. Watermelon is one of the best fruit choices as a treat for your dog. It’s high moisture and fiber content, along with densely packed nutrients, place it in the superfood category. Prepared properly, it’s a quick, nutritious, and hydrating treat when the sun beats high in the sky and your dog needs some additional fluids.

The fruit itself is a health-food powerhouse, low in calories and packed with nutrients—vitamins A, B6, and C, and potassium. Plus, the fruit has only about 50 calories a cup and 92 percent water, so it’s great for hydration on a hot day.

So, go ahead and share  this juicy and refreshing fruit with you dog but make sure to take note of the precautions mentioned above and you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

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